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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Shuffled not Stirred » » MemDeck vs. "Shortcut" Systems (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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MemDeck329
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Hello all. I just posted this at the end of another long thread. I think it needs its own topic..... It's just that some folks seem to think that there is an easier way to do things than just to knuckle down and memorize a stack. I don't think so! I do know that opinions vary widely and would like to hear your thoughts on this. I am not disparaging "finger-flingers" in any way. I used to be one. Smile But, THIS section of the forum is about stacks. I believe we are a small, but mighty, segment of the magical performers. I also believe that many MemDeck users would prefer to keep this stuff to themselves. They would be happier if no one else knew anything about this incredible tiny faction of card magic. What do you think?

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Perhaps we are discussing semantics here, but the Aronson stack IS cyclical to the extent that the stack does not begin with "1" and end with "52". After card #52, comes card #1, and the cycle continues. I did tons of research before deciding on the Aronson stack. I read all of the memorized deck postings here in the forum!

Once you memorize the stack (any stack), there is no comparision with any of the other systems. I believe there is no better, faster, or easier method than memorizing the stack of your choice. When ANY card is named, you know EXACTLY where it is in the deck. When any number is called out, you know INSTANTLY the name of the card. This is without ANY calculations, formulas, etc. This becomes ingrained knowledge, not computation!

Memorizing a stack sounds hard but it really is something that anyone can do with only a modicum of effort. I am 66 years old and memorized the Aronson stack in only three weeks. If you learn only two lousy cards a day, it will only take you less than a month to get it down.

If you learn 4 cards a day, it will take you less than 2 weeks. Some like to start out with just the 4 Aces on day one. On day two learn the 4 deuces, etc. It is difficult to eat an entire elephant in one day. But, if you have an elephant sandwich several days in the row, before you know it, the elephant is eaten. Smile

If you also use a locator card such as a breather, infinity, short, thick, long, etc. you can even let the spectator cut the deck several times. A single cut, pass, double-undercut, etc. restores your stack order.

I have studied most of the systems and I truly believe that most, if not all, of the "shortcut" systems are sadly lacking in comparison to an actual memorized deck of cards. You don't even need a pack of cards to drill. After a while, you can do your drills in your mind.

If you are willing to do further work on your estimation skills, you can learn to cut to (produce) any 4-of-a-kind! In "Workers 5", Michael Close mentions how he will "run the suits". This means he will (for practice) cut to the AC, then the 2C, then the 3C, all the way up to the KC. Then he starts over with the Hearts, Spades, and Diamonds. With a memorized deck and estimation skills, you can work miracles that the finger-flingers cannot compete with.
Bobby Forbes
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I concur! And the funny thing is once I started memorizing stacks, I got so into memory work that it became another passion of mine. I now memorize everything lol. The joyal stack was the first one I learned because of the built in safety nets, but then learned aronson, mnemonica, and Youell's hacker stack. In the process now learning my own stack. I have the deck set up for my favorite story trick. Did a few out faros and I'm memorizing that order. Now I will be able to do some mem deck effects, then do a few more out faros and finish with sam the bellhop. BAM!!! Gotta say though, I think the most convenient stack I use so far is Mr. Youell's hacker stack. It's just too easy to get into. Mnemonica takes a few more shuffles to get into from new deck order but that's my primary stack. Lots of great effects built into it.

And again...Thank You Harry Lorayne for making memory another passion of mine. I've been teaching my oldest daughter the basics for quite a while now. She's only 8 and she is grasping it very well. If my 8 year old can learn how to memorize stuff...anybody on this forum can. Just p.m. harry lorayne and he'll get you going. It just kills me when I hear or read of someone saying they can't memorize a deck of cards cause they don't have the patience..haha learn the right way and it just comes to you naturally lol.
Turk
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I also concur.

I will say that I too began learning the Aronson Stack using first the Aces, then, the next day "refreshing" on the Aces and also learning the 2s. The next day refreshing on all that was priviously learned (the Aces and 2s) and also learning the 3s. Sometimes I came to a particularly easy group value to learn (such as the Js) and so I'd learn the next four cards (8 total for that day).

I then learned the stack in order of 1-52...and then 52-1.

Then I'd run through the suits (backwards and forwards).

Finally, I marked up a deck of cards (on the back only) with that card's Aronson Stack number, shuffle the deck, deal off the cards one at a time, look at each number and name the card. Then, I'd turn the deck over, shuffle it and then look at each card and name its number.

I also find myself practicing the cards in my head while stadning in a checkout line or during TV commercials or when I wake up at night, and unable to get back to sleep.

There are so many ways to practice. H*a*r*r*y L*o*r*a*y*n*e (and others) teach a memory peg system but I could never get it in my head that taking the time to learn 52 peg items and then learning the 52 associated items was any quicker or better than just learning the 52 cards in the first place. (Great minds will certainly differ on this last point. That's for sure.)

Mike

P.S. BTW, a small favor please. When writing posts, please do not use = = = = = (or similar marks) across the entire page. It becomes a "hard code" and forces the viewed page to extend all the way across the screen. As a result, persons viewing your post who are not running their Internet pages in "full screen" mode, then have to use the horizontal scroll bar to read each and every line. (I run my pages at less than "maximize" so that I can have 2-3 screens visible at the same time). Thanks a lot.
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MemDeck329
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Hi Mike, thanks for the tip on the "equals" sign. I have been guilty of that!

As for TV commercials, I have learned virtually all of my close-up magic during commercials or at my computer. I sit cross-legged in my La-Z-Boy recliner. This provides a built-in close up pad, right there in the chair. At the computer desk, I have a small pull-out drawer with a piece of foam rubber for a pad.
Harry Lorayne
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Memdeck: You have to be kidding! Two weeks?! Students of mine, not necessarily magicians, memorize a deck - that is, THE POSITIONS BY NUMBER OF EVERY CARD, in MINUTES. You are kidding, right? HL.
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MemDeck329
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Harry, congratulations to you and your students.... What I said above was: "If you learn 4 cards a day, it will take you less than 2 weeks." I could also have said: "If you learn 52 cards in one minute, it will take you one minute."

I have also taught memory classes/courses in the past and all students (including yours) DO NOT learn or advance at the same rate. Some are exceptional and some will take much longer to get it. Memory pegs work for some folks. Others abhor those methods and CHOOSE the rote method.

Yep, it took me three weeks to learn the Aronson stack so that I could use it under-fire, at performance level. So, if you like, color me stupid! It takes however long it takes. Everyone is different.
edh
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I learned by rote also. I did it using Turks method. I didn't start by learning the stack in order. I didn't want to be hooked into learning the order and then having to learn the cards mixed. It took me less than two weeks to learn the Aronson Stack.
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MemDeck329
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Yes, edh... the whole point is that it takes everyone a different amount of time. It doesn't really matter how much or how little time is involved, only that we do it! I believe that anyone of reasonable intelligence can learn to memorize a deck of cards.

I noticed that some cards seemed easier to remember than others. The court cards came easy for me, but the 3 and 7 of Spades gave me a little trouble for awhile. Also, I noticed that converting the numbers to the values came easier than values to numbers....
Harry Lorayne
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Hey, to each his own - obviously.
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MemDeck329
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Obviously... Smile
edh
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MD329, I also initially thought it would be a daunting task to memorize 52 cards.
Not so.
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MemDeck329
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Hi Bobby, Turk, and edh.... I appreciate the fact you understand what I was trying to get across. Most of us are somewhat lazy (including me). If there is an easier or better alternative to the memorized deck, then we want that! But, if you want to know INSTANTLY the location and/or value of any/every card, there really is no substitute to actually going to the trouble of memorizing a stack.

At first, it looks like a formidable task.... perhaps even impossible! After only a small amount of effort we realize, "Hey! I can do this!" Now you have something that most other magicians don't have. It doesn't really matter if it takes you ten minutes or ten weeks. Once you have it, it is yours for as long as you are willing to retain the skills. This is not something that your friends/peers can go buy at the magic shop. You now belong to a small, elite group.
Harry Lorayne
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When I said "to each his own" I wasn't putting anyone down. I mean exactly that - if it works for you, by all means do it that way. It's a cliche because it's probably a fact - no good deed goes unpunished. I was only trying to help. I honestly feel that the few above who talk about using rote memory are not generally helping magicians who are interested. I've spent over 60 years(!), and have written many books, proving that rote memory is simply NOT THE WAY TO GO. ("Proven" to the vast majority.) It's also interesting to me, Memdeck, that you say you're lazy and then suggest the most difficult, hardest, way to memorize ANYTHING. But again, and I'm not trying to be a wiseguy - I leave that to others - to each his own. If it works for you, by all means, that's the way to go - for you. For the VAST MAJORITY, it is NOT the way to go. Just trying to make this clear, and perhaps help a few people. Best - HARRY L.
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Turk
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Harry,

You've got me interested in trying the peg system. I did learn the Aronson Stack by rote memory but, I'm afraid that if I don't constantly "practice" it, I'll lose it.

I've also been advised by others that, after awhile, the peg system "melts away and you no longer are doing a "two-step" process. Having to go through a "two step" process seemed to me to be one extra step and that I'd constantly have to be going through a two step on each and every card every time. This was my big hang-up in trying to first learn the peg system. Sorry If I didn't explain that last comment well. I hope you understand what I was getting at.

Anyway, I'm going to again attempt the peg system. Part of my hangup is convincing myself that it will be worth it in the end. Your comments in this regard are encouraging.

BTW, just curious. Why is it that learning the 52 cards by rote can be fleeting in recall if not constantly practiced but a learned peg system method stays with you forever--or at least longer than a rote memorized method has been learned.

Thanks a lot.

With greatest respect and fondness.

Mike

Just saw your bottom classic force and its applications. Very nice. Also, my Christmas present arrived today from L&L (Harry Lorayne's "Best Ever Collection".)
Magic is a vanishing Art.

This must not be Kansas anymore, Toto.

Eschew obfuscation.
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When I read one of Harry's books, I was floored at how easy it was to memorize.
My ex-cat was named "Muffin". "Vomit" would be a better name for her. AKA "The Evil Ball of Fur".
MemDeck329
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Harry, I think you have misinterpreted my postings. If you will refer to the multi-part series I wrote: "Memorized Deck Made Easy", I learned the Aronson stack using the Peg System. I recommend the Peg System highly. I discussed learning any stack using the Peg System in that series.

However, it is not the only way! Many folks have learned a stack using other methods. Some people believe that learning pegs is harder than learning by rote. Whether they are right or wrong is not the point. The point I'm trying to make is that learning a stack by ANY method is better than not trying at all.

In this subject heading, "MemDeck vs. Shortcut Systems", I'm not trying to compare learning systems. The "Shortcut Systems" I am referring to are non-memorized deck systems such as those requiring formulas, calculations, or algorithms to arrive at a known location in the pack. I AM NOT PROMOTING LEARNING ANYTHING BY ROTE MEMORY!
edh
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Turk, when I practice the first thing I do is run thru the AS. I shuffle the cards and run thru the Number=card, then the card=number. It takes me maybe at the most two minutes.
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Harry Lorayne
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MemDeck: Good!

Turk: Why in the world don't you purchase my stuff from me?! Let me try to answer your question. When I first was learning to type, I had to think, "a,s,d,f," and so on as I typed. Now, I type close to 100 words a minute AND IT'S DONE WITHOUT THINKING. Obviously, if I (or any typist) had to think of where the letter is, I couldn't type that quickly. It becomes AUTOMATIC. My trained memory systems enable you to remember anything faster. Then, it's the USE of the information that locks it in, and makes it BECOME KNOWLEDGE. You obviously no longer have to think of the two things, go through two steps - you simply KNOW the info, like you know your name, your birthday, your wife's name, and so on, and on. Best - HARRY L.
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MemDeck329
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Harry, by golly... I'm glad we are finally on the same page! I am certainly not at odds with you, in any way.

Simon Aronson, one of the two Kings of memorized decks, stated in his earlier books that it takes most people about a month to memorize his stack. In later works, he says "a few weeks". My goal was three weeks. I met that goal. Sure, someone who knows the peg system already can memorize and recall a deck of cards in a few minutes. I will grant you that! But, to ingrain it into your brain at the performance level does take longer. BTW, Simon also uses the peg system.
Harry Lorayne
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Simon scared people away from memorized decks with incorrect information. Saying that it takes a month (or a few weeks) to memorize the order of cards in a deck - not necessarily his stack - shows that he obviously had no idea what he was talking about. Don't get me wrong - he sure knows what he's talking about re: memorized stacks and effects with same - but know NOTHING ABOUT my memory training systems - that's obvious to me by the remarks of his that you quote. Let me tell you something, and do a bit of bragging at the same time. I told this story in another thread some time ago.

One of the effects I did when I was doing table magic at The Little Club in NYC about sixty years ago, was this - the spec. shuffled the deck. Then called all the cards off to me fairly rapidly. Then, he'd name any card and I'd tell him its position in the deck. Then he'd call any number 1 to 52 and I'd tell him which card was at that position. After doing that for a short time, I'd ask him what the top poker hand is. He'd say "royal flush" and then I'd ask him to name one of the four suits. As soon as he did, I'd rattle off five numbers - he'd go to those numbers and find the five royal flush cards of the mentioned suit. Now, the important point: My problem was to FORGET the positions here, because - the next night, or later that same evening, I had to repeat the routine! But, and this is my main point: IF I WANTED TO, I'd maintain those 52 card positions for as long as I wanted to. HL. (One of the demos I did in my memory act, for over twenty years, had to do with remembering 26 cards that were called off from a shuffled deck of giant cards in about 20 seconds. I remembered them in numerical order and also named the cards that were NOT among those 26. It was a "routine" that killed. I often did two or three appearances in a day - and always did that routine.)
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